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Selma residents protest no payroll, layoffs at City Hall

A handful of Selma residents stood in front of City Hall Thursday over the city not making payroll this week.

Residents carried signs and chanted, “Hell no, Darrio’s got to go,” referring to Selma Mayor Darrio Melton. Residents are irate over a city employee telling Selma City Council President Corey Bowie Wednesday that the city won’t make payroll. Sixty-eight workers will be laid off starting Nov. 5. Citizens are demanding employees be paid and request the city postpone layoffs.

Most of the residents interviewed by The Selma Times-Journal place the blame on Melton, not the city council.

“When you use your power of office that was given to you by the people for political motive, you’re taking food off the people’s table,” Selma resident Timfreit Drane said.

Resident Tracy Howe said she’s never seen the local government operate this bad.

“I’ve lived in this town for 52 years and I’ve never seen a Mayor try to get back at the city council,” Howe said. “This is the people’s town, not the Mayor’s town.”

Longtime Selma resident Veedan Chimehiura often attends city council meetings and is disgusted at what’s taking place.

“It’s a bad thing,” Chimehiura said. “You’ve got people with families to feed. I’m distraught we’ve got a persona of a mayor who sits on his butt collecting paychecks.”

Selma resident Deborah Reeves-Howard questions Melton’s motives.

“There’s something wrong with that man,” Reeves-Howard said.

Former State Rep. and city council pro-tem president Yusef A. Salaam said the layoffs and no payroll are both political moves by the Mayor.

“I’m appalled that the governmental powers of the city are viciously abused,” Salaam said. “The workers are caught up in this dastardly, political treachery. We’re talking about the holiday season.”

Multiple calls were made to Melton, who didn’t return calls.